Saturday, June 18, 2011


The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly without any warning her parents discovered that she was with child. This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment, at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him,but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth  - that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fish market. The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child all he said was "Is that so?"

Page 19. 'Zen Flesh Zen Bones  - A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings'
Compiled by Paul Reps
Penguin Books 1957

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